As COVID-19 continues to spread within Canada and internationally, Ottawa Public Health has issued information about preparing for a possible pandemic situation. While there are no current cases of the novel coronavirus in Ottawa, the city is urging people to get ready “in case you or someone in your house becomes ill.” Advice includes stocking up on food, medicine and cleaning products.

After yet another case of novel coronavirus was confirmed in Ontario on Friday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has issued a statement about preparing for a "possible pandemic" in the country.

The health body explained, “As cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to spread internationally, it is becoming more likely that we will see worldwide spread of the virus.” 

OPH went on to add, “Canada and other countries that do not currently have local transmission, are focusing on containment of COVID-19, but there is a strong possibility that this virus could become a pandemic.”

Should the situation in Canada escalate, the health agency provided a number of suggestions to encourage locals to be ready.

Their advice includes filling cupboards with non-perishable foods, creating an “emergency kit,” stocking up on prescriptions and medicine, and ensuring you have plenty of cleaning supplies and pet food.

In their statement, OPH also urges locals to do whatever they can to limit the spread of germs in their communities.

Advice includes washing hands often, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and staying at home if you are sick.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pandemic refers to "the worldwide spread of a new disease."

While there has only been a small number of cases confirmed in Canada, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam explained that the situation is evolving quickly.

"These signs are concerning, and they mean that the window of opportunity for containment, that is for stopping the global spread of the virus, is closing," Tam told reporters on Monday.

The WHO has yet to officially confirm COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Ottawa Public Health's full statement can be found here.

*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.

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